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Caregiver Advice: How to Manage Elderly Incontinence at Home

Marc Kaplan

 

More than 50 percent of all seniors in the U.S. are plagued by incontinence. While there are some seniors who can manage this condition on their own, others rely on their caregivers for assistance.

While this condition can cause embarrassment for some, it’s something that often happens to individuals as they age, and if they suffer from certain conditions. If you are a caregiver for an individual suffering from incontinence, you may be searching for some tips to better manage their care, while helping the individual maintain their dignity.

If that is the case, then be sure to use our tips for elderly incontinence care found here. With these tips, both you and the senior you care for can benefit.

Talk to the Senior’s Doctor  

If you are trying to provide care for a senior that is incontinent, one of the first things you should realize is that this isn’t a normal part of the aging process. In many cases, it’s the result of medical conditions that are treatable.

If you notice any symptoms of incontinence, schedule an appointment with their doctor. They can rule out an infection, such as a UTI, along with other conditions that may cause the issue.

In many cases, once the proper treatment is administered, all signs of incontinence will disappear, eliminating the problem altogether. However, if this doesn’t happen, then it’s important to take steps to ensure the senior’s life is as normal as possible – even with incontinence.

Make Sure You are Always Prepared

It’s important that you always have the needed supplies on hand. This includes while you are at home, and when you are on-the-go.

Be sure to pack a small tote bag with the needed supplies, including wipes, incontinence pads and briefs, and a change of clothes in case an accident occurs.

You need to make sure that your loved one isn’t going to become a hermit due to issues related to incontinence.

Make it Easy for Them to Use the Bathroom

There are many seniors who suffer from incontinence, but who still want to get to the bathroom – even when they are wearing an incontinence aid. As a result, you need to make sure it’s as easy as possible to make it there.

The first step is to make sure there is a clear path to the bathroom. Any furniture or other obstacles need to be removed from walkways.

Also, it’s a good idea to have the senior wear clothing that’s easy to remove. This includes eliminating things that are hard to remove or open (i.e. clothing with buttons, zippers, etc.). Instead, choose clothing items with elastic, snaps, or Velcro.

You can also make using the bathroom safer for them. Consider installing handrails, a raised toilet seat, and products that make it easy to clean up. By doing this, using the bathroom – even when struggling with incontinence – will be easier.

Encourage Fluids and Beware of Certain Drinks and Foods

Did you know there are a number of drinks and foods that can actually trigger incontinence? There are some rather surprising items on this list.

The most surprising include:

  • Common fruits
  • Drinking too little water
  • Artificial sweeteners and sugar
  • Tomatoes
  • Chocolate

If you want to reduce incontinence accidents, it’s a good idea to make sure the senior drinks plenty of fluids and that they avoid the top trigger drinks and food items.

Create a Schedule for Using the Bathroom

Creating a routine is one of the best ways to help older adults. It can ensure their bodily functions “go” at certain times, too.

Make it a habit to request that your senior uses the bathroom at regular intervals – even if they just “try.” You can select any amount of time, whatever works for them.

It’s a good idea to experiment with different time intervals to figure out which one works best, and then stick with it. Pretty soon their body will become accustomed to this schedule, and there will be fewer accidents.

Waterproof Chairs and the Bed

Part of the issue related to incontinence is that the mess extends to anywhere the senior sits or lies. In addition to helping them get cleaned up, you have to clean up items that aren’t always easy to clean.

You can prevent additional stress and headaches by waterproofing any area where the senior spends time. If you can’t add a protective covering, consider using a fabric protector to the surface. This will help reduce hard to clean messes.

Eliminate Lingering Odors

Another factor related to incontinence that is difficult for caregivers to manage is the odors it can cause. As a result, it may be a good idea to look into ways to eliminate these smells, without drawing attention to the issue.

In some cases, adding an internal deodorizing product to the senior’s diet can be helpful. Another option is to use air fresheners around the house.

Elderly Incontinence Management: Tips You Can Use

As a caregiver, it is your job to help ensure your senior is comfortable at all times. When they suffer from incontinence, there is no question this can be a huge challenge.

As a result, it’s a good idea to use the elderly incontinence management tips found here. Doing so will help you, as well as the senior you are providing care for.

If you found the information here helpful, be sure to check out some of the other blogs on our site. For example, we offer helpful tips on how to clean medical equipment. Being informed is the best way to provide superior care services to patients and others.

Sources

Prevalence of Incontinence Among Older Americans

Urinary Incontinence in the Older Adult

Managing the Elderly with Urinary Incontinence and Dementia